Down by 10 points at halftime Saturday against Western Carolina, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga football coach Russ Huesman was confident his Mocs would prevail in the second half.
He even said as much in his radio interview as he walked off the field.
"I told the radio guys, 'We're going to win. Mark it down, we're going to win this game,'" he said.
The Mocs haven't had many big comebacks in recent years, but they produced one Saturday in a 24-20 Southern Conference victory over the Catamounts in front of an announced crowd of 9,320 at Finley Stadium.
"When it's like this and you're just scrapping for every yard and you can pull it out, it feels better than beating somebody 100 to nothing," said UTC wideout Blue Cooper, who had a career-high 16 catches for 143 yards. "It's just an amazing feeling."
After getting behind 13-0 and trailing 13-3 at the half, UTC rallied for the program's biggest comeback since 2004. The Mocs overcame a 21-point deficit that year in a 59-56 win over Appalachian State.
"I was so proud of our guys to come back and play like they did in the second half," Huesman said.
The Mocs (5-3, 3-3) were in the game in the second half because of their defense, which held Western Carolina (1-7, 1-5) to two first-quarter field goals following UTC turnovers.
Michael Johnson's 1-yard run midway through the second quarter put the Catamounts up 13-0, and the Mocs looked to be headed toward a third straight loss. Craig Camay, who had four field goals in the game, kicked a 30-yarder late in the half to keep UTC within reach.
The Mocs drove deep into WCU territory on their first two possessions of the third quarter but settled for field goals.
WCU pulled away again with a 19-yard touchdown catch by Chris Everett that pushed its lead to 20-9, but the Mocs answered right back. Following a 36-yard kickoff return by Buster Skrine, quarterback B.J. Coleman connected with Chris Pitchford for a 41-yard touchdown that made it 20-15.
Early in the fourth quarter, two dropped passes killed a UTC drive at the Western Carolina 47-yard line. But Josh Crockrell fumbled Mike Hammons' punt and UTC safety Jordan Tippit recovered the loose ball at the Catamounts' 18.
The Mocs kicked another field goal after Cooper dropped a catch in the end zone, his only miscue, but they were well within reach, down 20-18 with 12:55 remaining.
Western Carolina was then held to three-and-out -- the Catamounts had just 23 yards of offense in the fourth quarter -- and UTC took over at its 23 with 10:57 to play.
The Mocs, who had 204 yards of offense in the second half, then went on a 16-play march that ended with freshman tailback Chris Awuah scoring the go-ahead touchdown on a 6-yard run with 3:33 remaining in the game.
Awuah was held to 29 yards on 17 carries, but he could have driven a school bus through the hole the line gave him on that play.
"Our line just came through in the clutch when we needed them and opened up a great hole for me," he said.
A rare run by Coleman kept the drive going. On third-and-3 at the 15, he faked a handoff to Awuah and ran up the middle for 9 yards.
"They weren't expecting it, and you've got to tip your had to (offensive coordinator Marcus Satterfield) for having the confidence to call it on me," said Coleman, who was 22-for-41 passing for 248 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
"That right there," Coleman said of the come-from-behind win, "that's turning the corner."